LOVE ME TENDER – Elvis Presley's First Film Role (Part 6)

Share your Love for Elvis Presley on Social Networks:


Elvis Presley Love Me Tender

Elvis. Actor or singer?

From the first moment the news that Elvis would appear in films leaked to the press, journalists had one question. Namely, will the famous (and for many, especially the elderly, controversial) vocalist sing on the screen?

” People ask me if I’m going to sing in the movie ,” Presley said in an interview about his role in the Western The Reno Brothers. ” I’m not going to. That is, as far as I know .”

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

However, his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was of a different opinion, who thought that adding a few songs to the script (which initially did not contain a single song) would greatly increase the film’s appeal. And … it will allow you to get additional income from the sale of the soundtrack album.

Interestingly, Parker managed to convince the producers of the emerging picture without much difficulty. They believed that the very presence of Elvis among the cast would attract a teenage audience to the cinemas, and thus a completely different type of viewer than before. However, not being 100% sure whether his young fans would prefer to watch “Elvis the actor” or “Elvis the singer” on the big screen, they decided that supplementing the plot with a few songs would certainly not hurt anyone.

Initially, however, Presley was offered to sing only the title ballad. According to Trude Forsher, Parker’s personal secretary, it was given to the singer just before filming began. Elvis was very bitter about this. It is even said that he was ready to refuse to record her, were it not for the firm intervention of his manager, who explained to him that this is exactly what 20th Century Fox management expects of him and that it would be in bad taste to refuse their request.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Shortly thereafter, the film’s music director, Ken Darby, provided Elvis with a number of songs composed to meet the following requirements – “to be perfectly suited to the period ” of the Civil War and at the same time ” to meet the requirements of Presley music supporters .”

From the five compositions presented, Elvis chose a sentimental ballad, the sound of which was based on the song from the Civil War era, “Aura Lee”. “ (Elvis, author’s note) He listened and chose this particular tune. It was an instant decision ,” recalled Darby in a September 1956 interview. ” He knows what he likes. He can sense a melody and instantly make it his own .

For years, Presley scholars and biographers have claimed that the sole author of the ballad (as well as all the songs recorded by Elvis for the movie “Love Me Tender”) was Ken Darby. His wife Vera Matson’s name was only supposed to be in the song’s caption because Elvis’ catalog was then owned by BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc) and Derby was affiliated with ASCAP. Under the law at the time, the two copyright organizations could not appear side by side in the caption of any recording.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Matson herself, like Elvis, whose name also appears in the description of the song, had absolutely nothing to do with its creation.

The whole situation above, however, seems to be put in a completely different light by the statement of Ken Darby, who in an interview with Trudy Forsher said: “I took it (the tune chosen by Elvis, note by the author) home to my wife. She is the author and she came up with the title ‘Love Me Tender’. It took Vera no more than one evening to write these few verses .

Revealing the backstage of one of the most recognizable, not to say emblematic, songs in the entire Elvis repertoire, Derby also clearly emphasized Presley’s role in giving it its final sound. ” Then the draft of the song was brought back to Elvis ,” he said. “ (Elvis, author’s note) adapted the music and words to his own unique interpretation. Elvis has the greatest ear I’ve ever met. He doesn’t read sheet music, but he doesn’t need to. All I had to do was play that song for him once and he made it his own. He has excellent judgment of what is right for him. He was the one who let him choose ‘Love Me Tender’ for the title track .”

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

It is worth noting, however, that the statement quoted above dates from September 1956. In connection with the above, one should consider whether Ken Derby did not just want to authenticate the official version, which attributed the authorship of the song to his wife and Elvis (pursuant to an agreement between Derby and Colonel Parker).

The song was recorded on August 24, 1956 in the Stage 1 studio belonging to 20th Century Fox. The beginning of the recordings was scheduled for 1 pm and their course was responsible for the producer Lionel Newman and two sound engineers – Bob Myer and Ken Runyon.

None of the Elvis band members were invited to participate in the session, despite the fact that they were in Los Angeles at the time. The film studio authorities justified their decision by stating that Scotty Moore, Bill Black and DJ Fontana are inappropriate for this type of repertoire (which, by the way, aroused embittered bitterness among the musicians).

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

In their place, music director Ken Darby brought in a band of instrumentalists: Vito Mumolo (guitar), Michael ‘Myer’ Rubin (bass), Richard Cornel (drums), Luther Rountree (banjo) and Dom Frontieri (accordion).

” After a few songs were added to the script, me and the rest of the band were invited to 20th Century Fox for an audition ,” Scotty Moore recounted in Scotty & Elvis Aboard The Mystery Train. “ They took us to a small bungalow. No one told us it was going to be a western with hillbilly songs. Elvis didn’t know either (Presley found out about the addition of the other songs after filming had started, author’s note). So we gave our usual performance. In response, we heard: ‘This is not what we are looking for’. You know, it was all politics. They made such moves to pacify Elvis .”

In his book, however, the legendary guitarist confessed that the mere dismissal of the group members with the proverbial receipt did not affect him as much as the fact that no one had previously informed them what kind of music the people at 20th Century Fox would expect during the audition. ” Bill [Black, author’s note] were members of the Starlite Wranglers ,” he said. “ We were raised on country music. It was all set up from the beginning. Ken Darby, the film’s musical director, had his own vocal trio (provided vocal accompaniment during the Elvis sessions, author’s note) and musicians he wanted to use. He never even had any intention of getting The Blue Moon Boys involved .”

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Moore ultimately placed the blame on Colonel Parker for the whole incident. “ Parker was delighted with it ,” he explained. ” His boyfriend was able to record with these new musicians and Elvis was able to see for himself that he didn’t really need The Blue Moon Boys at all .”

However, Elvis himself apparently felt differently because right after it happened, he met with members of his group and confessed that he was sorry for what had happened. At the same time, he also assured them that he would personally see to it that they appeared in his next film.

(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

The recording session lasting only five hours resulted in three premiere tracks. In addition to the ballad “Love Me Tender”, Elvis also recorded “Poor Boy” and based on the old gospel song “There’s Leak In This Old Buliding”, “We’re Gonna Move”.

The last song for the new film, “Let Me”, was recorded a few weeks later – on September 4 and 5, 1956 (the instrumental was recorded on September 4, to which Elvis added his vocals a day later).

Information provided by EP Promised Land (Poland) – Marius Ogieglo

If you liked this article and this radio, we ask you to share it in order to reach more Elvis fans around the world. Thank you very much ?


(adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

Share your Love for Elvis Presley on Social Networks: